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A Case for Building Consistency with Contractor Management

27 October 2020

The contractor management landscape is vast and complex with organisations using contractors in different ways. With this level of variety there can be inconsistencies with standards that are to be met. This applies to both the individual and the organisation. 

How can organisations build a better compliant contractor culture? 

In this blog GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia talk to us about their experience of contractor utilisation and how COVID has had an impact to redefine new ways of working. 

GSK is a leading science-led global healthcare company that researches and develops a broad range of innovative products in three primary areas of Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare. 

The Compliance Manager at the GSK Ermington, NSW location told us that the site predominantly utilises contractors for maintenance activities, project work and general labour hire for key skillsets. The business relies on these workers to maintain daily operations. There is a high standard for health and safety and an expectation that these standards are met by all personnel that come to site. Some contractors don’t take these responsibilities seriously and come from businesses where health and safety protocols aren’t prioritised. This can result in unrealistic expectations with incident investigations and contractors being removed from site for poor behaviour. It has highlighted the importance of selecting contracting companies with a solid reputation and a demonstrable track record. 

The system and responsibilities of those using it 

The contractor management system is reliant on all personnel playing their part to ensure contractors have up to date documentation (inductions, insurances, licenses, SWMS etc.) prior to arriving on site. Without conformity the site risks bringing contractors onsite performing high risk work without these in place. Contractors at GSK are issued a permit-to-work prior to completing tasks on site and their safe work method statements (SWMS) are reviewed by the site host. The work area is reviewed for any additional hazards and all are aligned with H&S expectations. The site host is to be notified if any changes to the work or environment occur. Companies with good standing performance and with a proactive attitude to H&S are likely to be retained for future contracts. Site security personnel are key users of Sitepass and check the system prior to permitting any contractors on site. They check to ensure all contractors are inducted, have up to date insurances and relevant licenses for the work they perform. Any contractors without these in place are not permitted on to site. This has sometimes caused frustrations yet is necessary to shape expectations and meet their health and safety standards.

COVID implications and necessary adjustments to managing contractors 

As GSK is regarded as an essential business with their research into producing immune boosting technology to develop multiple COVID-19 vaccines, operations have carried on as normal throughout the pandemic. Some changes were implemented to further protect frontline production workers that involved minimising interactions with contractors on site. For instance, only essential contractors are permitted onsite, contractors are no longer permitted to use canteen facilities and must always wear protective face masks when on the worksite. 

What can other organisations learn from these contractor management experiences? 

GSK Ermington has been using Sitepass’ contractor management system since 2017. Here they share useful top tips for managing contractors should you be looking to improve your contractor management approach, whether you are embarking on your first CMS or upgrading to a new one: 

  • Regularly stress the importance of contractor management to staff whose work involves working with contractors to ensure standards and expectations are met. 
  • Everyone needs to take ownership of the contractor management system, rather than one or two admin staff managing the system/process. 
  • There is value from utilising all the functions the system can offer – e.g. capability to record good and bad performances of contractors/companies that can also be used when tendering for future projects/contracts. 

What contractor management best practice have you gleaned in your organisation? 

Share your experiences with us or if you are looking for direction on better managing your contractors check out our blog or simply get in touch as we’d be delighted to help direct you on your contractor management journey whether your needs relate to contractors, visitors, for onboarding or workflow verification

Sally Danbury
Sally Danbury

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